The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the latest edition of the World Happiness Report on Monday 20th March 2017, a report that collates data from over 150 countries and ranks them by how happy they are.
The rankings are based on a survey of 1,000 people across 150 countries, with the data providing key information for the following metrics:
- GDP per capita
- Quality of social support
- Health and life expectancy
- Freedom to make life choices
- How generous people are
- Levels of corruption and trust in the country
Scandinavian countries tend to top these rankings on a yearly basis and it was no different in the latest report as Norway (1st), Denmark (2nd), Iceland (3rd) and Finland (5th) remain in the Top 5 globally.
So how did Frontier Markets perform?
Frontier Markets Happiness Rankings 2017
|FM Rank||Overall Rank||Country||Score|
|1||21||United Arab Emirates||6.648|
|7||38||Trinidad and Tobago||6.168|
The United Arab Emirates has not only been ranked as the happiest country in the Middle East, but also the happiest Frontier Market in 2017. The positive news has been attributed to increased efforts in providing jobs, essential services, security and infrastructure to its citizens. The improved ranking will also be welcomed by many who want to see the country in the Top 5 be 2021.
Argentina, Malta, Panama and Qatar complete the top 5. It is worth noting that only two Sub-Saharan African countries feature in the top 30 happiest Frontier Markets: Mauritius (17th) and Nigeria (29th).
On the other end of the spectrum, Tanzania continued its downward spiral and was ranked as the unhappiest Frontier Market, with Botswana, Uganda, Ukraine and Ghana completing the bottom 5. There are no countries in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region ranked in the bottom 10 Frontier Markets.
Improvements and Declines
The Frontier Markets that improved their happiness scores the most since 2005-2007 were mainly European countries. These include:
- Latvia (+1.364) – The Baltic nation has experienced the largest improvement among Frontier Markets and has successfully climbed up the rankings of the past few years. A survey in 2015 revealed that 59% of Latvian residents consider themselves happy, compared to the 27% and 10% that felt unhappy and very unhappy respectively.
- Bulgaria (+0.87) – Previously ranked as the unhappiest country in the EU, Bulgaria has slowly been improving its image and reforms in the country have filtered through into the country’s happiness rankings.
Other countries include Slovakia (+0.833), Macedonia (+0.681) and Serbia (+0.645).
On the other hand, the Frontier Markets that recorded the largest declines in their scores are:
- Botswana (-0.973) – High levels of corruption and underwhelming education standards have seen Botswana consistently rank as one of the unhappiest places on the planet.
- Ukraine (-0.93) – Corruption, slow reforms and an ongoing political crisis have condemned the European Frontier Market to experience a deterioration in its happiness scores over the past few years.
Other large decliners were Jamaica (-0.897), Saudi Arabia (-0.829) and Tanzania (-0.776), with the latter earning the crown of 2017’s Unhappiest Frontier Market.